New Paths for Education: National Program Guidelines 2017-2018

Table of contents

1. Introduction

The New Paths for Education program provides funding to strengthen First Nation education and improve the quality of education in First Nation schools. As of 2011-2012, New Paths for Education was consolidated to include First Nation SchoolNet, Parental and Community Engagement, and Teacher Recruitment and Retention.

2. Objectives

The objectives of the New Paths for Education program are to:

3. Outcomes

The program aims to improve the quality of education in First Nation schools and to contribute to the following specific outcomes:

4. Activities

Key activities supported by the program include the following:

4.1 First Nation education management and governance capacity

Strengthen First Nation education management and governance capacity through local capacity and educational institutional development:

  • Maintain a Regional Education/Management Organization infrastructure;
  • Provide education school board type services;
  • Support local school governance;
  • Support school improvement plans; and
  • Manage proposal-based activities.

4.2 School effectiveness

Improve the effectiveness of classroom instruction through curriculum and language development, pedagogical improvements, school activities and Information Technology (IT) hardware and software purchases:

  • Develop educational programming, including extra-curricular and environmental activities like sports or arts;
  • Develop or modify curriculum, and conduct activities related to language and culture;
  • Develop or modify, and purchase instructional materials;
  • Implement activities to improve the effectiveness of classroom instruction;
  • Purchase IT hardware and software;
  • Undertake school evaluations;
  • Support school to work transition; and
  • Manage proposal-based program activities.

4.3 Parental and community engagement

Develop and implement strategies that support community and parental involvement in the education of their children and youth which is conducive to a supportive learning environment:

  • Organize and hold parent/community meetings;
  • Organize and hold workshops and conferences that support community and parental involvement in the education of children and youth;
  • Support parental involvement in the educational development of children;
  • Support activities that promote the integration of traditional knowledge in school and home learning environments; and
  • Manage proposal-based activities.

4.4 Teacher recruitment and retention

Assist band-operated schools to recruit and retain qualified teachers and educators and provide them with professional development opportunities:

  • Develop and implement local and regional recruitment and retention strategies and activities to support teachers;
  • Conduct professional development leading to professional accreditations for education staff;
  • Conduct professional development for education staff such as workshops and conferences; and
  • Manage proposal-based activities.

4.5 Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

Enhance the effectiveness of classroom instruction through the development and enhancement of technological knowledge in the school:

  • Purchase IT hardware and software;
  • Pay for Internet service provider user fees;
  • Purchase LAN equipment, cable, dishes, wireless equipment and replacement parts;
  • Provide ICT training for education staff;
  • Provide Help Desk services, and other ICT services; and
  • Manage LANs.

4.6 Research, Measurement, Evaluation and Knowledge Transfer

Support expanded partnerships between researchers and educators that identify best practices in Indigenous education of current or potential benefit to First Nation students and improving their education outcomes, and support the dissemination of information on these initiatives:

  • Undertake research, measurement or evaluation activities on Indigenous education initiatives in Canada that relate to improving First Nation education outcomes; and
  • Present findings at First Nation education conferences, workshops or symposia in order to increase awareness and knowledge of identified best practices.

5. Eligible Recipients

Funding for New Paths for Education may be flowed directly to band councils, or to organizations designated by band councils, such as tribal councils, education organizations, political/treaty organizations, public or private organizations engaged by, or on behalf of Indian bands, provincial ministries of education, provincial school boards/districts or private education institutions, to provide education services.

Organizations designated by band councils must submit documented support from the designating First Nations with their proposal, such as Band Council Resolutions or formal letters of support.

In order for an organization to be considered a Regional Education/Management Organization and funded to provide school board-type services or ICT services, it must meet the following minimum requirements:

In addition, the following guidelines apply:

For sub-program 4.6 (Research, Measurement, Evaluation and Knowledge Transfer), only the following organizations may be eligible for funding:

6. Eligible Participants

Participants in the proposed activities can include community members, elementary and secondary students, parents and caregivers. Participants can also include staff of band-operated schools, First Nation education authorities and education institutions, as well as advisors such as Elders and cultural mentors.

7. Proposal Process

Submission of Proposals

Only proposals submitted in the electronic proposal form issued by INAC will be considered for assessment. Refer to the proposal form and the attached instructions for application details. Incomplete proposals will be returned to applicants.

The information required in the proposal is available in the Reporting Guide. Recipients who have access to the INAC Services Portal also access the proposal form by opening a session on the Portal. If you do not have access to the Portal, contact your regional office, or if you are a national recipient, write to

Deadline for Submission of Proposals: May 1

Assessment Criteria

All proposals will be assessed by the following criteria:

Organizations are highly encouraged to leverage their resources by fostering partnerships and by demonstrating economies of scale. This may include collaborating with provincial school boards, other education institutions, Aboriginal institutions, accredited institutions or other agencies, to undertake mutually beneficial activities.

Note: Meeting these criteria does not guarantee funding from the New Paths for Education program.

Review and Approval of Proposals

INAC regional or headquarters staff will review and approve proposals. A written response will be sent to applicants to confirm whether, or not, their proposal has been approved for funding. Approved proposals will be funded in the form of a Set contribution.

8. Eligible Expenditures

Eligible expenditures may include the following:

In the case of Sub-Program 4.6 (Research, Measurement, Evaluation and Knowledge Transfer), eligible expenditures may also include the following:

Note: Administration Costs include only the actual costs associated directly with administering New Paths for Education and must not exceed 10% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs. The program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI) will automatically calculate the amount.

Further distribution of funds by INAC's funding recipients: When a funding recipient further transfers, to a Third Party, funds that were received under this program, the 10% allowed for administration costs must be divided between the parties, as agreed to between the parties. The total administration costs retained by all parties must not exceed 10% of the sub-total amount requested before administration costs.

In the category of School Board Type Services, eligible expenditures may include the following:

  • Costs associated with coordination of region-wide education programs and services;
  • Program modification or adaptation;
  • Instructional materials;
  • Development of curriculum;
  • Diagnostic testing and evaluation (not covered under the Special Education Program or First Nation Student Support Program);
  • Professional services;
  • Professional development and support activities;
  • Costs associated with providing advice to band administration (e.g. travel expenses, web sites, videoconferencing fees) and consultation with communities;
  • Management of education/school board type services (including operational costs);
  • Advice and support to First Nations for the wording and negotiation of agreements with provincial education authorities;
  • Funding for liaison with community service providers (e.g. child/family services, employment programs), provincial service providers and education organizations to support improved education outcomes;
  • Honoraria for school board type members in line with provincial standards;
  • School evaluation and implementation of evaluation recommendations (not covered under the First Nation Student Support Program); and
  • Maintaining a regional organization infrastructure.
    Note for recipients: Travel expenses are to be claimed at actual cost, but cannot exceed Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's guidelines as specified in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat's Travel Directive in effect at the time of travel. Expenses which exceed the rates set for in the Directive will not be paid.

9. Ineligible Expenditures

Ineligible expenditures include, but are not limited to:

10. Maximum Program Contribution

The maximum amount payable is set on a case-by-case basis for each proposal and is limited overall by available funding both nationally and regionally.

In the case of research, measurement, and evaluation expenditures, the maximum amount payable to any one recipient per project will not exceed $250,000.

11. Monitoring and Accountability

Funding recipients must deliver the programs in accordance with the provisions of their funding agreement and the program delivery requirements outlined in these National Program Guidelines while also ensuring that the necessary management controls are in place to manage funding and monitor activities. Funding recipients are required to exercise due diligence when approving expenditures and must ensure that such expenditures are in accordance with the eligible expenditures set out in these National Program Guidelines.

INAC is committed to providing assistance to recipients in order for them to effectively carry out obligations under these National Program Guidelines and funding agreements. Regional offices and other departmental contacts are available to answer questions and provide guidance related to INAC programs and funding.

To ensure that program delivery requirements are being met, that funds are expended on the intended purposes, and that INAC's accountability to Parliament is being met, activities including audits, evaluations, as well as desk and on-site compliance reviews will be conducted with all funding recipients.

  • The Department's collection and use of personal information and other records for the purposes of program compliance reviews will be limited to what is necessary to ensure program delivery requirements are met.
  • The Department is responsible for all information and records in its possession. The confidentiality of the information will be managed by INAC in accordance with the Privacy Act and other related policies on privacy. Recipients are responsible for the protection of personal information per the privacy legislation, regulations and/or policies that govern them up to the point that it is transferred to INAC.

12. Reporting Requirements

The reporting requirements (program and financial reports) are listed in the recipient's funding agreement, and details on these requirements are available in the Reporting Guide. Recipients are responsible for ensuring that reporting requirements are met and reports are accurate and submitted on or before the established due dates. Recipients who have access to the INAC Services Portal can access the reporting forms by opening a session on the Portal. If you do not have access to the Portal, contact your regional office, or if you are a national recipient, write to

13. Contact Information

For further program information, please visit the New Paths for Education page.

The regional offices coordinates can be found on the Regional Offices page.

You can also write to:

Education Branch
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
10 Wellington Street

These National Program Guidelines can be consulted in the Education Programs - National Program Guidelines of INAC's website and through the View Instructions button on the first page of this program's Data Collection Instrument (DCI).

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